12/31/09

PZ Myers – Contra Mitch Daniels and Pro Positive Affirmation of God’s Non-Existence, part 2 of 2

PZ Myers has picked a bone with Mitch Daniels as Daniels was prompted to make certain statements about atheism. Mitch Daniels is the Governor of Indiana whom PZ Myers, in accordance with his characteristically belligerent mannerism, has chosen to refer to as, “profoundly stupid…a mindless ratbag.”[1]

PZ Myers states that “Equality was an ideal of the Enlightenment…not Christianity.” Let us consider the overarching concept that God created both males and females in His image (Genesis 1:27). Next consider the following statements:
…the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

In Christ we are all equal as there are no—gender, national or racial—ontological distinctions.
I know that iTheists such as PZ Myers not only want equality with God (Genesis 3:4), but want to be above God (see Isaiah 14:12) and finally do away with God and worship nature (see Atheism as nature worship or neo-paganism). However, it should also be noted that Myers’ concept of a hierarchy is faulty as equality amongst humans does not contradict being “topped by a god.”



Note that Myers asserts that, “There is no eternal standard of right and wrong.” Keep this in mind as Myers is about to tell us what is right and wrong while asserting that there are no right and wrong but that he is right and Mitch Daniels and Christians are wrong but not according to any eternal standard which he thinks is wrong but he is ultimately right since there are not eternal standard………..or something.
Moreover, note Myers’ characterization of Daniel’s morality, “how hollow his morality is at the core; he cannot imagine a good life without a priest telling him what is right and wrong.” Yet, in the very next paragraph morality is bequeathed via the Myersian priesthood as PZ tells us what is right and wrong:
In the absence of a god-given absolute morality, all that matters is how we treat one another in this one life we have. What flows naturally to me is not brutality, which requires an absence of awareness of the suffering of others, but recognition of the fact that my fellow human beings really are my equals: we're all going to die, we only have these few brief decades of life, and who am I to deny someone else the same opportunities I've been given?

But why “In the absence of a god-given absolute morality”? Because PZ Myers holds to a positive affirmation of God’s non-existence without evidence or proof of any sort, merely based on his wish that is be true,
There are no gods, no objective enforcement of a benign morality on us, and that has a couple of consequences. One is that we ought to reject out of hand any claims to morality based on theocratic morality as false…We should build our morality on reason.

I most certainly agree that we should build our morality on reason, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD (Isaiah 1:18). Yet, this reason is to play off of God’s absolute moral premise; actually off of the ethos which is what is premised upon the Trinune God’s relational nature and is absolute.

His contention is that “theocratic morality” is “false” and something that “we ought to reject” it (note the moral imperative, “we ought to”) because he presupposed, again, without evidence/proof, that “There are no gods.”
So, back to “In the absence of a god-given absolute morality” as we come to PZ Myers’ very own Myers-given absolute morality and as we note that he turns his non-sequiturious opinions into a moral imperative. He doeth bequeath “all that matters” and claims that it is “how we treat one another” based on what “flows naturally” and which he personalizes via subjectivism as pertaining “to me.”
But what are his moral imperatives? “not brutality” because that causes “suffering” “but recognition of the fact that my fellow human beings really are my equals.” But upon what does he assert that this is a “fact”? Upon the arbitrary concept that “we're all going to die, we only have these few brief decades of life.” Lastly, he appeals to denying “the same opportunities I've been given.”



I know that to some this sounds oh, so very nice but it must be considered logically nonetheless. The whole assertion is a non-sequitur. Since there is no “god-given absolute morality” PZ Myers is offering the bio-chemically educed opinions of a mere bio-organism floating on the back of a pale blue dot in the universe’s backwaters (he knows this and it is why he refers to his blog posts as “random biological ejaculations”). It may sound great but it merely an arbitrary and subjective opinion. You see, I could just as easily write:
In the absence of a god-given absolute morality, all that matters is how I treat myself in this one life I have. What flows naturally to me is brutality, which follows logically from the very engine of Darwinian evolution; the suffering of others, the struggle for life. The fact that my fellow human beings are not my equals: we're all going to die, we only have these few brief decades of life, and this is why I want to deny someone else the same opportunities I've been given!

Why not? Darwinian survival is specifically about being the fittest over others who do not have the same survival opportunities that I’ve been given via mutations, etc. Shout “Altruistic Darwininan mistakes” all you want the fact is that with no moral imperative in the universe, with only the opinions of a man who lives is a very comfortable and safe Christian country, my conclusions are as valid as Myers’. In a materialistic universe you find meaning for your life where you wish; you could feed the poor or you could eat the poor (see, Atheism On Meaning and Purpose).
Moreover, since there is “no objective enforcement” what is to be done with Myers’ moral imperatives? Well, hopefully we will sing Kumbaya there is no Lord, kumbaya but just how would PZ Myers enforce his commandments? He cannot, he can merely assert and hope for agreement or, perhaps, he will have to rely on “force.”

Note also that while PZ Myers asserts that he is concerned with his fellow and equal human beings he supports the brutal murder of healthy, beautiful, innocent and defenseless human babies as he dehumanizes them by stating that “the pieces of the embryo or fetus” by which he means their mutilated corpses, are merely “beautifully patterned collections of differentiated cells”—in fact, according to materialism we are all and at any age nothing but “beautifully patterned collections of differentiated cells.”

Note that what set PZ Myers’ off against Mitch Daniels was this statement:
People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we're just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Of course, he does go on to state,
Everyone's certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they've come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.

PZ Myers wrote that “Skipping past the obvious falsehood in his comment”—which means I have no response—“Hitler was not an atheist.” Note that he does not deny that Stalin and Mao were atheists; he seems to have quite a bit over the Arizona Atheist in this regard. Incidentally, while I generally argue that Hitler was not, strictly speaking, an atheist (as I do here) is it a fact that Hitler’s biographer says of him and he is “a man who believed neither in God nor in conscience.”[2]

Now, is it “an absurd non sequitur to declare that awareness of our mortality leads directly to oppression and abuses of power and the selfish acquisition of power at any cost”? Perhaps, ultimately, as atheism does not necessarily necessitate “oppression and abuses of power and the selfish acquisition of power at any cost.”
However, the facts are the facts and the fact is that for one, studies consistently show that atheist are amongst the least charitable, personable, sociable and most unhealthy and depressed amongst us (evidence here) and as Vox Day notes:
Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things?
If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them.[3]

I am certainly not envisaging PZ Myers as some sort of up and coming monarch yet, all he can do in promulgating his morality is either hoping for a “Be good for goodness’ sake” utopia or else enforce his morality via force.

As an aside, consider this example: when, for some odd reason, spitting in the faces of “religious” parents by referring to them as “child abusers,” “brainwashers,” etc. did not work, militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins hoped that interfering in those families “might lead children to choose no religion at all.”[4]
In this he saw place for “society stepping in”[5] and now they are piggy-backing on the United Nations as the
British Humanist Association stated, “The billboards are being unveiled to coincide with Universal Children's Day, 20 November, which is the United Nations ‘day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children.’”
This was in reference to the ads which read, “Please don’t label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself” (see here and here for my reworking of the ads)
Thus, from besmirching, to appealing to society, to appealing to the United Nations—from dehumanizing belligerence to force.

PZ Myers ends thusly:
my ideal society would not be led by an autocrat who thought power was a sufficient justification for his actions…nor do I think that a culture built around obedience to tradition, as interpreted by a tribunal of priests, is my idea of a desirable society. And I'm an atheist. Why would a mindless ratbag politician like Daniels think that my dream world would be led by a dictator? I get so tired of being told by the ignorant that my goal is to put a Stalin in power, when they dream of a Palin.

The bottom line is that PZ Myers missed the point entirely and thus, his entire post is fallacious. Mitch Daniels did not claim that an atheist’s “dream world would be led by a dictator” nor that their goal “is to put a Stalin in power.” The point is that, whether they want it or not, there are logical conclusions of atheism and the history of the 20th century are evidence of this as it was the most secular and bloodies century in human history due, almost exclusively, to atheist regimes.

Over all, indeed, PZ Myers is bombastic yet, by saturating his posts with fallacies of various sorts he succeeds in doing nothing but bombing his own assertions into smithereens.

[1] PZ Myers, “I'm so sorry for you, Indiana,” Pharyngula, December 27, 2009
[2] Richard Cavendish, The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975), p. 77-78
[3] Vox Day, The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens (Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, Inc., 2008), p. 241
[4] Richard Dawkins, “Now Here’s a Bright Idea
[5] During his interview with Gary Wolf, “The Church of the Non-Believers


This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproducsped and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
at this link

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12/30/09

PZ Myers – Contra Mitch Daniels and Pro Positive Affirmation of God’s Non-Existence, part 1 of 2

PZ Myers has picked a bone with Mitch Daniels as Daniels was prompted to make certain statements about atheism. Mitch Daniels is the Governor of Indiana whom PZ Myers, in accordance with his characteristically belligerent mannerism, has chosen to refer to as, “profoundly stupid…a mindless ratbag.”[1]

There are two relevant portions of an interview with Mitch Daniels[2]:
1)
To me, the core of the Christian faith is humility, which starts with recognizing that you're as fallen as anyone else. And we're all constantly trying to get better, but... so I'm sure I come up short on way too many occasions.
The prompting of the following comment came about due to Mitch Daniels’ recent recommendation of the book “No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers” by Michael Novak, “which Daniels characterized as responding to ‘aggressive atheism’ with Christian charity.”
2)
Mellinger: Is there part of you that is bothered by the aggressive atheism of a [Sam] Harris, a [Christopher] Hitchens, a [Richard] Dawkins? And what I mean is... this atheism is a little different than atheism has been in the past because it does seek to convert people.

Daniels: I'm not sure it's all that new. People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we're just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Everyone's certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they've come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.


Note that the supposedly heroic New Atheists constantly abscond from tackling that which supposedly ignited their movement, the radical Islamic attacks on 9/11, and instead sit in the safety, comfort and lucrativeness of the UK and USA—countries premised upon Judeo-Christian principles—and constantly besmirch the world’s true evil (apparently) in the form of popular Christian televangelist types (this is mostly why the New Atheist movement discredited itself). Not to disappoint, PZ Myers follows this cowardly suit in referencing Pat Robertson or James Dobson. And, by the way, he likens Joseph Stalin, the atheist Communist murderer of some 20,000,000 people, to Sarah Palin.

What comes across in PZ Myers’ response is, sadly, a typical barrage of unfounded assertions, misunderstandings, illogicality and contradiction. I understand that Myers is emotive, exiting and knows how to push all of those little buttons that cause his reader’s adrenaline to spike but his words must be considered and dissected so as to consider his actual content.


For example, consider the following:

The core of Christianity has never been humility, but arrogance. This is a faith that claims its followers have privileged contact with an immortal, omniscient being, that claims that believers are especially loved by the most powerful intelligence in the universe, and that those who believe most devoutly will be rewarded after death with cushy lives in paradise, while the rest of us burn in torment for eternity. Governor Daniels needs to crack a dictionary.

hu•mil•i•ty
noun
a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.

There is nothing humble in believing one has an inside line to god. Sure, Christians talk about being "fallen" and "sinners", but what it's all about is false modesty: we're all fallen, but Christians get to be saved, and you don't.


Is stating that 2+2=4 and does not equal any other number arrogant or is it simply true? It is narrow and exclusivist but is it true and thus, not arrogant. If, and I ask that you momentarily grant me this if, the gospel is true then it is no more arrogant than 2+2=4.
Note that Myers makes it impossible to find evidence contrary to his assertion that the core of Christianity is arrogance. This is because if you were to present, as evidence, even one single humble Christian PZ Myers claims to know that they are merely expressing “false modesty.” But how does he know that it is “false”? He does not; he presupposes it because it is convenient to his prejudice. What he is claiming is that he knows that the estimated 2.1 (to 3) billion Christians in the world are 1) not humble and if they are, they are 2) falsely modesty.

Yet, this assertion of his is based upon his faulty conception of what is Christianity. It is not a “faith that claims its followers have privileged contact with” God. Rather, it is a faith that claims that everyone on Earth has privileged contact with God, “For God so loved the world the He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The ultimate Christian message is not the pessimistic atheist retelling of it as there being only one way, but the message is that there is a way and it is available to all, “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Thus, we all have “an inside line to god.”

The juxtaposition between those who are “rewarded after death” and “burn in torment” (for information on hell see here and here) is that the first group chooses to spend eternity with God and the second do not.
Note that he knows very well that he is wrong in admitting that Christians affirm that we are all fallen sinners thus, “we're all fallen, but Christians get to be saved”, you likewise have a chance to be saved and Christianity is likewise premised on telling others that they may be saved. It is not arrogant for a beggar to tell another beggar where to find bread.

Note that PZ Myers is an adherent of atheism, which is the ultimate in “I am right and anyone who disagrees is wrong.” Consider the words of one time atheist C. S. Lewis:
If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake.
If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race has always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view.[3]

PZ Myers goes on to write:
Our country was founded by people of diverse faiths, many of which modern Christians would not recognize as anything like their beliefs; Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine only get to be kept in the fold post mortem because they're Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine, but anyone who says the things now that they said in life is a heretic and apostate.

Equality was not one of those principles held to with any consistency by the founding fathers. Slavery was condoned. Slavery was justified by the Bible; what kind of "just God" orders his people to slaughter whole nations and enslave their women and children? Equality was an ideal of the Enlightenment (implemented poorly, in fits and starts, and with its own share of blood and pain), not Christianity. The Christian ideal was a hierarchy on earth and heaven; a monarchy topped by a god.

Ok, so, “Our country was founded by people of diverse faiths” aka non-Christians. But these non-Christians were slave owners and justified slavery via appealing to the Bible. I suppose that when they did something evil they appealed to, and we can blame, the Bible but when they did something good they were freethinking non-Christians.
But why did some appeal to the Bible in support of slavery? Indeed, because they were not consistent with the Bible. The reason that the USA was the last one in and the first one out of slavery is because of the Bible. That some sought to justify the unjustifiable via the Bible does not mean that they were actually able to justify slavery via the Bible but that they were committing the fallacy of eisegesis (or isogesis) and reading into the text that which they wanted to see there—they took texts out of context to make pretexts for prooftexts. They bought African slaves from Africans (who are still doing the same today) and did not want to lose their free workforce.
This form of slavery is condemned in the Bible and carried with it the penalty of capital punishment (in the Old Testament, Exodus 21:16) and is likened to murder (in the New Testament, 1st Timothy 1:9-12). Having written on slavery I will direct the interested reader to: Does the Bible and its God Condone Slavery? and Does God Command You to Beat Your Slaves?.

[1] PZ Myers, “I'm so sorry for you, Indiana,” Pharyngula, December 27, 2009
[2] Mark Mellinger, “Daniels talks candidly about his faith,” Wayne-TV December 24, 2009
[3] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1960), p. 29


This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
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12/28/09

At Long Last Scientifically Verifiable Evidence of the Long Sought After Eight Winged Dragonfly!!!

An interesting debate took place between Donald Protheros and Michael Shermer on the one side and Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg on the other.

Two years ago Donald Protheros wrote the book, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters with a foreword by Michael Shermer which, in part, stated,

the best book ever written on the subject…Don’s visual presentation of the fossil and genetic evidence for evolution is so unmistakably powerful that I venture to say that no one could read this book and still deny the reality of evolution.

Ah, now we see whence Richard Dawkins got his idea of promulgating his book The Greatest Show on Earth as somehow forcing a conclusion that God does not exist as inferred from biology (see reviews on Dawkins’ book here, here, here and here).

As Jonathan Wells, who reported on the debate, notes:

Of course, “evolution” can mean many things, most of which nobody would deny even without Prothero’s book. For example, evolution can mean simply change over time, or minor changes in existing species (“microevolution”), neither of which any sane person doubts. Both Shermer and Prothero, however, make it clear that by “evolution” they mean Darwin’s theory that all living things are descended from a common ancestor, modified principally by natural selection acting on unguided variations (“macroevolution”).

The modern version of the theory asserts that new variations originate in genetic mutations. Some of the most dramatic mutations occur in “Hox genes,” which can determine which appendages develop in various parts of the body. On page 101 of his book, Prothero shows pictures of two Hox gene mutations: “antennapedia,” which causes a fruit fly to sprout legs instead of antennae from its head, and “ultrabithorax,” which causes a fruit fly to develop a second pair of wings from it midsection. But both of these are harmful: A fruit fly with legs sticking out of its head is at an obvious disadvantage, and a four-winged fruit fly has no flight muscles in its extra pair of wings, so it has trouble flying and mating. Both mutants can survive only in the laboratory; in the wild they would quickly be eliminated by natural selection.

Some Darwinists have suggested that ancestral four-winged fruit flies could have evolved by mutation into modern two-winged fruit flies. But this explanation doesn’t work, because a two-winged fly hasn’t simply lost a pair of wings; it has acquired a large and complex gene (ultrabithorax) that enables it to develop “halteres,” or balancers. The halteres are located behind the fly’s normal pair of wings and vibrate rapidly to stabilize the insect in flight. So the two-winged fly represents the gain—not loss—of an important structure. (See Chapter 9 of my book Icons of Evolution [there is now a book and DVD]).

Prothero ignores the evidence and suggests that ancestral four-winged flies simply mutated into modern two-winged flies. Modern four-winged mutants, he writes on page 101, “have apparently changed their regulatory genes so that ancestral wings appeared instead of halteres.”

Not only does Prothero ignore the evidence from developmental genetics, but he also invents an imaginary animal to complete the story he wants us to believe. Page 195 of his book carries an illustration of an eighteen-winged dragonfly next to a normal four-winged dragonfly, with the following caption: “The evolutionary mechanism by which Hox genes allow arthropods to make drastic changes in their number and arrangement of segments and appendages, producing macroevolutionary changes with a few simple mutations.

Yet there is no evidence that eighteen-winged dragonflies ever existed. There are lots of dragonflies in the fossil record, but none of them remotely resemble this fictitious creature. No matter. In what Michael Shermer calls “the best book ever written on the subject,” Donald Prothero simply makes up whatever evidence he wants.[1]

Robert Crowther wrote a smack down account of the debate.




It is rather interesting that when evidence fails to support their theory the Darwinism equals God does not exist crowd do not change their theory but manipulate, or in this case invent, “evidence.” The artist in the best friend of this crowd as when evidence does not exist they can paint it, draw it or sculpt it.

Listen to a debate between Stephen Meyer, Richard Sternberg, Donald Prothero and Michael Shermer at this link.

[1] Jonathan Wells, “Donald Protheros Imaginary Evidence for Evolution - Need evidence for Darwinian evolution? Just make it up,” Evolution News, December 1, 2009
This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
at this link


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12/27/09

The “Skeptic’s Annotated Bible” as a Heuristic Device

Considering that, generally but reliably speaking, those who label themselves as “skeptics” are anything but, it is not surprising that the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible is saturated with atheist talking points along with the obligatory common, and some uncommon, misconceptions and lack of scholarship.

Having conducted a study of the relevant biblical texts relating to the doctrine of the Trinity it seemed relevant to consider the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible webpage entitled, How many gods are there?

The page seeks to demonstrate biblical contradictions by referencing texts that affirm that “There is only one god” and those that conclude that “There are several gods.” I will reproduce it in its entirety below but let us first note just how simple it is to reconcile these two.
Actually, “reconcile” is giving the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible far too much credit as the problem is that they are, in truly pseudo-skeptical form, merely quoting texts while not musing upon that which the texts are stating.
Since they are not truly skeptic they are not interested in understanding the texts and connecting the dots but are merely interested in presenting the appearance of contradiction. In fact, the webpage offers no commentary at all They mere present two columns with two titles and, apparently, think that this is supposed to mean something.

The list “There is only one god” is straight forward enough: God affirms that He is the one and only God and that there is no other. The list reads as follows:

Deuteronomy 4:35
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Deuteronomy 4:39
The LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
Deuteronomy 32:39
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me.
1 Kings 18:39
The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
Isaiah 43:10
I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Isaiah 44:8
Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Isaiah 45:5-6
I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.
Isaiah 46:9
I am God, and there is none else: I am God, and there is none like me.
Mark 12:29
The Lord our God is one Lord.
Mark 12:32
There is one God; and there is none other but he.
John 17:3
That they might know thee the only true God.
1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.

For some odd reason, perhaps simply an innocent overlooking of the relevant texts, the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible neglected to quote a very, very relevant text in their “There are several gods” list. They somehow missed quoting,
Now concerning things offered to idols…we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God (1st Corinthians 8:1, 5-6).

Thus, yes—and this is key—“there are so-called gods” and these so-called gods are “many” yet, “there is no other God but one.” In fact, note that just above, in the “There is only one god” list they quote the monotheistic affirmation from in 1st Corinthians 8:6a but they did not bother providing the context, which would have done away with their whole webpage, when listing “There are several gods.”
Thus, there you have it: since there are many so-called gods who are not gods then references to “gods” and for that matter “goddesses” are references to demons or simply fictitious characters that are worshiped as idols.
Below we will note that Exodus 12:12 is quoted as, “And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.” Indeed, and it was in executing these judgments that God demonstrated that these so-called gods were not gods but impotent idols.

Also, below we will note that Psalm 82:6a is quoted as “I have said, Ye are gods” and also John 10:33-34 in which Jesus references that Psalm:
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Perhaps, the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible thought that we would take them on authority or by “faith” yet, when we practice the true and honest skepticism enjoined upon us by the Bible[1] we look up the citation, read for context and note that the Psalm reads:
God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? SelahDefend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all nations.

The term for “gods” here, as in most places of plurality, is the Hebrew elohim and means “mighty ones” which was used in reference to the judges. Even though God called the judges mighty ones they are His creation and will die like any other person. El, Eloah, Elohim or Eloheinu are titles generically used to mean God, god, gods, goddess, judges, great, mighty, angels or power [im being plural for a masculine Hebrew word, ot being plural for feminine words].

They also do not seem to consider that since God is a Triune being plural references to the one
God are not mistaken or contradictory. In fact, below they quote 1st John 5:7 to which no one making a scholarly theological case for the Trinity would refer as it is known to be a late dated accretion and reads thusly,
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

But do not miss the point: even in the face of a text which makes reference to the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost as being “one” they include it in a list prefaced as “There are several gods.” But how are there “several gods” in view when they are said to be “one.” The answer is twofold: 1) the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible know not what they do and 2) the doctrine of the Trinity affirms one God, one being, in three co-equal, co-eternal, distinct persons.

I designed this illustration of the Trinity and you can purchase this design on a t-shirt or sticker at my online Cafepress shop:


These few facts are quite enough to dispel whatever negative implication the following references were meant to convey:
Genesis 1:26
And God said, let us make man in our image.
Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, Behold, then man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.
Genesis 11:7
Let us go down, and there confound their language.
Exodus 12:12
And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.
Exodus 15:11
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?
Exodus 18:11
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.
Exodus 20:3, 5
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
Exodus 22:20
He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
Exodus 22:28
Thou shalt not revile the gods.
Exodus 23:13
Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
Exodus 23:24
Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exodus 23:32
Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exodus 34:14
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Numbers 33:4
Upon their gods also theLORD executed judgments.
Deuteronomy 3:24
What God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works?
Deuteronomy 6:14-15
Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you)
Deuteronomy 10:17
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords.
Deuteronomy 28:14
Thou shalt not ... go after other gods to serve them.
Joshua 24:2
They served other gods.
Joshua 24:14
Fear the Lord ... and put away the gods which your fathers served.
Judges 11:24
Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?
1 Samuel 6:5
Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods.
1 Samuel 28:13
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
1 Chronicles 16:25
The Lord ... is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 82:1
God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods.
Psalm 82:6
I have said, Ye are gods.
Psalm 86:8
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord.
Psalm 96:4
For the Lord ... is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 97:7
Worship him, all ye gods.
Psalm 135:5
Our Lord is above all gods.
Psalm 136:2
O give thanks unto the God of gods.
Jeremiah 1:16
I will utter my judgments against them ... who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods.
Jeremiah 10:11
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
Jeremiah 25:6
And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
Jeremiah 46:25
I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods.
Zephaniah 2:11
The Lord will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth.
John 10:33-34
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

[1] “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18), in the New Testament the Bereans are considered more noble (or more “fair minded”) for double checking everything that Paul told them (Acts 17:11), Thomas asked for the evidence which the others had seen and had merely retold to him (John 20:24-30), Jesus stated, “Love the Lord your God with all your…mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38), etc., etc., etc.

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section
at this link


Continue reading The “Skeptic’s Annotated Bible” as a Heuristic Device...

12/26/09

Notification of Reposting / Republishing of “Atheism is Dead” Content

Notification of Reposting / Republishing of “Atheism is Dead” Content

This post’s comment section is reserved for those who wish to repost / republish “Atheism is Dead” content.

FYI: I am now including the following comment at the end of each “Atheism is Dead” post:

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
1) Give credit to “Mariano of the ‘Atheism is Dead’ blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com”
2) Inform me as to which essay is being reproduced and where it is being reproduced via the comments section at this link

Continue reading Notification of Reposting / Republishing of “Atheism is Dead” Content...

False Teachers Reveal the Truth

Have you ever shaken your head in disbelief at the expounding of certain Christian teachers? Do these people seem to be false prophets, deceivers, ignorant and unstable, promoters of controversies, ferocious wolves, who offer meaningless talk, who are conceited and understand nothing, who exploit, tell fortunes for money, and use godliness as a means to financial gain?

If you agree, you have just agreed with the Biblical teaching on this subject. Rather than encouraging the sort of tactics used by these teachers, the Bible warns us of them and tells us to be aware and to beware. We are to be ready for them as we are to prepare against theft, regarding these teachers Jesus said, “See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24:25). In this way false teachers reveal the truth of the Word of God—by demonstrating the accuracy of its dissection of their methods and the fact that it warned us against them.

How many times have Christians had to answer for the televangelist with the big hair and big boasting? Or, the false teacher crying for money? Or, the faith healer knocking people down? Or, the false prophet claiming divine revelation? It is about time we turn the tables and use these wolves, goats and prodigal sons to reveal the truth of God’s Word.

It must be noted that sometimes false teacher are not so obvious, if they come out and preach for two hours it will not necessarily be heresy from beginning to end. Remember that the most believable sort of lie will always contain some truth. Thus, you might really be keeping up and being drawn into the sermon and all of a sudden some very odd claims will surface. Then you are either learned enough, or are lead by the Holy Spirit, to discerning them or you might just get caught up in the excitement of it all. This is why so many of these preachers are so charismatic, because if you fall in love with the person then what they teach is secondary, also criticism of the preacher is made more difficult to accept because you have an emotional bond. This is a cult of personality.

God has been warning us about these sorts of people for millennia. And although we cannot judge the motivations of the hearts of individuals, we are told in the Bible some of their general motivations and tactics.

FAITH EQUALS MONEY:
One of the most popular money grubbing tactics used today is to talk us into believing that if we send money to the ministry we are planting a seed and that seed will grow and produce for you 30, 60 or 100 fold. Apparently this does work, for the televangelist anyhow, because they ask for money and they get it.
But what if you are on a fixed income and this leaves you in more debt than before? Well, Brother Shambock said that God told him to tell people to give him $2,000 each, and he said that if you are telling yourself that you tried it last year and it did not work then you should try it again.
He then repeated the words “try it again, try it again…” and “get to your phone quickly, quickly…” so many times that he could have hypnotized you. It is really very convenient; if you gave your seed-faith offering and nothing good came out of it, then it is your own fault because you did not have enough “faith.” So try it again and again and again.
If this really works then instead of them asking us for money why do these televangelist not send all the people on their mailing list $100 or $2,000? This way they could get back 30, 60 or 100 fold. If they did this once a month they could get rich by giving us money. But no, apparently this only works if we are giving to them and never the other way around.
But what was Jesus talking about when He said, “they who have been sown on the good ground, such as hear the word and receive it, and bear fruit; one thirty, and one sixty, and one a hundred fold” (Mark 4:20). While I might not have 100 houses in my name, I know that I could go anywhere in the world and find a Christian who would be willing to house and feed me.
Doubtless that a minister can make a living from his ministry, after all “The worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7; 1st Timothy 5:18). But there are fair, correct, moral ways of doing this and there are deceptive ways of doing this.

The Bible Teaches:
While we too are saddened by these doings, we knew to expect them because the Bible warns us of them:

Micah 3:11 “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.”

1st Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

2nd Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”

Acts 8:18-23 “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’”


MIRACLE WORKERS:
Miracles, in and of themselves, are not credible proof of divine approval. Do you ever wonder, if these faith healers can really heal, why is it always something that you cannot see? You might hear a great story like a person has had back problems for decades and all of a sudden the faith healer slaps them on the forehead and suddenly they can stand up straight and jump up and down (and tap dance or something). Why do we never see an amputated limb grow back, cancerous skin suddenly look clean and new, withered limbs return to life, or third degree burns suddenly vanish? Why do these healers not clearing out hospitals? (Just in case, I am not denying that some such healings take place, particularly where they are most needed which is outside of first world countries, but it is somehow never on the fancy televangelists shows).



The Bible Teaches:
Revelation 19:20 “But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.”

Matthew 24:24-25 “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.”

FALSE PROPHETS:
Some people seem to think that any statement that is preceded or followed by the words, “Thus saith the Lord” is automatically divinely revealed truth. In reality, there are many teachers who are notorious for making such statements and proving over and over that they are false prophets.
For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have come up with a convenient explanation for their various predictions of the world’s end, they say that the light is getting brighter and things are getting clearer and clearer (see, The Eschaton Strikes Again).
First of all, their predictions of the world’s end were not made by mere men who make mistakes and need brighter light. They were made by an organization that claims to be the one and only one that is not only lead directly by the Holy Spirit but who is headed by Jesus Himself ever since He returned to Earth invincibly in 1914 AD. Secondly, if this is their explanation (or excuse) then we should never believe a thing they say because, after all, everything that the Jehovah’s Witness preach today may just be wrong in a few years when the light get brighter.

The Bible Teaches:
Jeremiah 29:9 “‘They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah 14:14, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.’”[It is very interesting to note that someone can hype themselves up so much so that they can have experiences that they themselves forced to occur]

Deuteronomy 13:1-4 “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”

Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

1st John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

FALSE TEACHERS:
A false teacher teaches odd ideas that are usually a way to get themselves noticed. Their hype and scandal brings them attention, this attention brings them fame, and fame brings them money. Some favorite tactics are taking a verse or passage out of its intended context and forcing it to say what ever they want (a pretext).
Or they might concoct doctrines by attempting to glue together bits and pieces from the whole Bible which in reality have nothing to do with each other. They will also follow trends; when holy laughter is popular they will practice that. When slaying in the spirit is popular they will do that. When health and wealth is popular they will practice that, etc., etc.

The Bible Teaches:
2nd Timothy 4:3-5 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

1st Timothy 1:3-6 “As I urged you…command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.”

2nd Peter 3:15-16 “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

DECEIVERS:
Simply stated; these are people who are out to purposefully deceive. In most cases we might suspect that someone might be doing this but when it comes right down to it we cannot judge their heart, their motivation, whether or not they are doing it on purpose or whether they themselves are deceived.
However, in some cases the truth comes out, like in the case of Peter Popoff: he would claim to have received divine revelation and would know personal things about people such as their illnesses. He would astonish the crowds by this miraculous knowledge.
However, he was exposed as a charlatan because as it turns out, before his appearances those in attendance would write down their prayer requests. Popoff’s wife would collect them. Next she would direct him as to whom to speak with in the crowd via a small hearing device that he would wear. She would read from the prayer requests and he made it seem as if this intimate knowledge was coming from God. I gave props to James the amazing Randi for doing so (is “props” still a hip common parlance thing?).

You can also see footage of Benny Hinn renouncing every odd practice in which he indulged; he explained why it was wrong and why he is giving them up. However, he repented form his repentance and got right back to doing the same exact things as before. And so, in some cases the deception is obvious but we advice caution lest we find ourselves in unrighteous judgment.



The Bible Teaches:
Jeremiah 29:8-9 “Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.”

Matthew 24:11 “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2nd John 1:7 “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.”

SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT:
The concept of getting slain in the spirit is that the Holy Spirit is used like a defibrillator of sorts. At hyper-charismatic events faith healers will slap people on the forehead and knock them backwards, or they just fall by their own volition—on que, by the way.
Apparently, the Holy Spirit can be shot out at people so that whole crowds fall over and loose all control, they may yell or act like animals (literally). There simply is no Biblical support for the practice of slaying in the spirit.



The Bible Teaches:
John 18:2-6 “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’ ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘I am he,’ Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground. [KJV: As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground].”


Jesus enemies fell down backwards, His adherents “fell” forward to worship Him.

Overall, such false teachers are not doing anything about which we have not been warned long, long ago in the Bible, let us heed its word.

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers,
knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment others”
—James 3:1


Continue reading False Teachers Reveal the Truth...

12/25/09

The Two Christmases and the Two (or Three) Atheist Options

Apparently, Christmas has not been around long enough for some atheists to understand it. Actually, I am quite certain that I just made a fallacious statement as, just like Christians, atheists understand that there are two Christmases.

The publishing of An Atheist's Guide to Christmas should make is clear that as per Christmas atheists have two options, three if they are inconsistent: 1) ignore it, leave us alone to enjoy it and get on with your life maaaaaaaaaan, 2) repent and celebrate the birth of your savior, 3) besmirch your Christian parents, condemn Christmas but then make sure you wake up nice and early on Dec. 25th in order to rake in the presents!

Yes, December 25th is close at hand and atheists have already begun giving the gift of mocking Christmas, filing lawsuits and getting ready to collect their presents.

One Christmas is all sugar coating and no substance and the other is substantive with sugar on top. What I am referring to is that one manner in which Christmas is celebrated is to focus on Santa Claus, trees, reindeers and gifts (secular Christ-less-mas). This is the only Christmas about which it could be said that there are Pagan roots and the only one that atheists, always lacking in originality, can commandeer for themselves.

The other Christmas is to view it as a day in which we focus on the birth of the Messiah Jesus. When we focus on Christ’s birth we can also enjoy the tinsel while if we focus on tinsel the holiday looses all meaning and eventually even the tinsel loses its luster. A symbol is never as significant as the substance of that which it is meant to represent. This one includes not Pagan roots and atheists can only do with it what they do in replacing the supernatural God with various natural gods: themselves (see iTheism).

The History
As its name implies, CHRISTmas (literally celebration, or Mass of Christ) is a date in which is celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ (Christ being an English version of Kristos, which is a Greek version of Meshiach, which is Hebrew for anointed). Notice that Christmas, December 25th, is not Jesus’ birth date but a day in which His birth is celebrated. Christianity believes that Jesus is God’s son, which according to historical context meant that this was a claim to equality with God. This is one of many reasons why Jesus is said to be God incarnate (literally in the flesh).
Christmas has been celebrated, in one form or another, since the very day of Jesus’ birth (circa 3-4 BC). This is because Mary and Joseph celebrated His birth, the shepherds celebrated His birth and the angels celebrated His birth.



The Miracle
Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus was born to a virgin. This miraculous birth was foretold in the book of Genesis 3:15 where the seed of the woman is said to be a coming defeater of the serpent/satan (note that males have the seed and females the egg, while in this case the seed is of the woman, i.e., a child will be conceived without the involvement of a male). In the book of Isaiah 7:14 the prophecy is made more specific by referring to a sign from God, which will be that “the virgin shall be with child.” Isaiah 9:6 further applies names and titles to the child that are appropriate for God alone.

Moreover, Micah 5:2 foretells this child’s birth in Bethlehem. Jesus is known as being of Nazareth since that is where He lived but He was born in Bethlehem. It was also prophesied that the Messiah would be Jewish-a Hebrew from the Tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, through Jesse, through David.

These are some of the many prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Calculations conducted within the field of statistical probability demonstrate that as we compound prophecy upon prophecy the probability of one single person fulfilling all of their requirements becomes staggering. Yet, this is just what has occurred.



The Meaning
On the day of Jesus’ birth the following proclamations were made, “…behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:10-11, 14).

Christianity believes that Jesus chose to come to earth and live just as we do (yet, without sin) in order to fulfill the requirements of the Torah (Law of Moses or Old Testament Law). This would qualify Him to be what is known as a spotless lamb or Lamb of God (according to various metaphoric aspects of the Torah’s sacrificial rites as well as the Passover lamb as described in the book of Exodus). Therefore, Jesus chose to give His life so that those who relied on Him would be covered by His righteousness. This means that Christianity believes that all sins may be forgiven by believing that Jesus has paid the price for them. Thereafter, Christians are called to a life devoted to Jesus in thanksgiving for what He did for us. This is why Jesus’ birth is celebrated and why the majority of the world sets its calendars according to His birth.



Continue reading The Two Christmases and the Two (or Three) Atheist Options...

12/24/09

Even More Evidence of the Deleterious Effects of the New Atheist Movement

My heart breaks when I consider that in an age of information like no other the world has ever seen, personages such as this youngster take such pride in ignorance. At least ignorance is easily remedied via acquiring accurate information.

She rightly emphasizes the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause which prohibits the government from establishing an official state religion—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishing of religion”—but employs it as a non-sequitur against displaying religious paraphernalia on government property.
Thomas Jefferson, deist or not, attended Christian church services in the Capitol Building. Ironically, The Freedom From Religion Foundation would have called for his impeachment for doing so.Apparently, they understand Jefferson better than Jefferson understood Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence states that we have inalienable rights that have been given to us by “our Creator…nature’s God.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an organization established in the USA which is a country that was premised upon the concept of freedom of religious expression.

Then she praised the anti-theism and pro-positive affirmation of God’s non-existence sign by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. How long will the Freedom From Religion Foundation go on positively affirming God’s non-existence without evidence? Is this not what they condemn as “faith”? They are doing it this year and they did it last year.

She wants to oust theism based “faith” displays while encouraging atheism based “faith” displays—go figure.

Poor thing, she needs love, prayer and education.


Continue reading Even More Evidence of the Deleterious Effects of the New Atheist Movement...

The 'New' Atheism: 10 Arguments That Don't Hold Water - Michael Poole

Michael Poole, has written the book titled, “The 'New' Atheism: 10 Arguments That Don't Hold Water.”

It is due to be released in May 1, 2010 AD but which may be purchased now. The Amazon.com product description reads as follows:

“The top ten arguments put forward by the new atheists are teased out and torn down.
The new atheists are putting out new books and articles, bus adverts and TV programmes like there's no tomorrow.

They've gained a large slice of the public eye's pie, but do their arguments really hold water?
Using the analogy put forward by the esteemed philosopher Anthony Flew, Michael Poole examines the new atheists' use of the 'ten leaky buckets' tactic of argumentation - presenting readers with a sum of arguments that are each individually defective, as though the cumulative effect should be persuasive.

This closer look at the facts reveals that the buckets are, indeed, leaky.”


Continue reading The 'New' Atheism: 10 Arguments That Don't Hold Water - Michael Poole...

12/23/09

Richard Dawkins Elucidates, Yet Again, Why He Will Not Debate William Lane Craig

Please note that this essay will now be housed in True Freethinker’s debate category
Continue reading Richard Dawkins Elucidates, Yet Again, Why He Will Not Debate William Lane Craig...

Atheist Sunday School

This is an essay that I wrote some time ago and decided to move over from its original home.
Since many atheists are pretending to be concerned with “child abusers” and “brainwashers”—by which they mean parents who raise their children according to their “faith”—it is important to continued providing evidence that they do the very same things which they condemn.
Thus, this will become a part of the archive of such evidence: Atheism and Child Rearing

Let us consider a TIME Magazine article written by Jeninne Lee-St. John titled, Sunday School for Atheists.

The article was a report on atheist parents who seek to ensure that their children are taught to believe exactly as do they. While this is typically what any and every parent wants, it is refreshing that atheists are admitting that they indoctrinate their children as much as, if not more so than, theists. Atheists are now coming out and admitting that they practice indoctrination of children just like those theistic parents whom atheists have long condemned for doing the same thing.

The practice of atheistic indoctrination of children is, of course, nothing new. I know someone whose father used to tuck her into bed a night, when she was a little girl, telling her that there is no God. The difference now is that the indoctrination is becoming institutionalized in the form of summer camps, classes, Sunday school, etc.

The article states:
“some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. ‘When you have kids,’ says Julie Willey, a design engineer, ‘you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on.’ So every week, Willey, who was raised Buddhist and says she has never believed in God, and her husband pack their four kids into their blue minivan and head to…atheist Sunday school…the weekly instruction supports their position that it's O.K. to not believe in God and gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have.”

Note the qualifiers: reinforce what they want their children to have.


Children's Program at the Humanist Community of Palo Alto, California. Photo by Kathrin Miller for TIME


“…One Sunday this fall found a dozen children up to age 6 and several parents playing percussion instruments and singing empowering anthems like I'm Unique and Unrepeatable.”

Here we have atheistic hymns and doxologies—actually, this is iTheism.

I may be reading too much into this but I thought that it was simply fascinating:
“…Down the hall in the kitchen, older kids engaged in a Socratic conversation with class leader [Peter] Bishop about the role persuasion plays in decision-making. He tried to get them to see that people who are coerced into renouncing their beliefs might not actually change their minds but could be acting out of self-preservation--an important lesson for young atheists who may feel pressure to say they believe in God.”

I do not know if it is a mere semantic accident but; note that even while the class leader sought to warn them about the role of persuasion “He tried to get them to…”
Ok kids, be thou persuaded to beware of persuasion!

Lastly, consider a statement made by one of the parents,
“…‘I'm a person that doesn't believe in myths,’ Hana says. ‘I'd rather stick to the evidence.’”

What evidence?
What is “the” evidence?
Evidence of what?
Evidence for what?
I thought that atheism was merely a lack of god(s) belief—what does evidence have to do with anything?

Also, note that “atheist summer camps for kids” and “an atheist Sunday school” were also mentioned here in a PDF format report on the media’s love affair with atheism.

Continue reading Atheist Sunday School...

12/22/09

Ariane Sherine, The Atheist's Guide to Christmas and a Double Whammy Besmirchment of and Compliment to Christianity

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists”
—G. K. Chesterton (Where All Roads Lead, 1922)

“Where would Dawkins be without Jesus’s
extraordinary impact on the Western world?
Quite a bit poorer, for one thing”

—John Cornwell (
The Times, 9-1-07)

Yet, again atheists are complimenting Christianity by exclusively expressing belligerence against Christians.

Ariane Sherine (of the most belligerent atheist money wasting bus ads fame) has edited a book corroborated upon by various atheists. “The Atheist's Guide to Christmas” seeks to suck the last remnants of Christ from Christmas whilst comforting atheists who choose to reject the Christ of Christmas but still feel lonely or excluded during a time of celebrating Christ.

I am a strong supporter of such endeavors but always end up disappointed. For example, when Dan Brown sought, via The Da Vinci Code, et al, to discredit Christianity I thought that it was great as I could not wait for him to seek to next discredit Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, etc. (and no, his new book “The Lost Symbol” is not merely about Freemasonry but about how Christians are actually worshipping an Egyptian god).

Thus, I eagerly await, “The Atheist's Guide to Ramadan,” “The Atheist's Guide to Hanukah,” “The Atheist's Guide to Kwanzaa,” “The Atheist's Guide to the Solstice,” “The Atheist's Guide to Halloween,” “The Atheist's Guide to Zarathosht Diso,” “The Atheist's Guide to Vasant Panchami,” etc., etc., etc.

For some odd reason, many atheists complain that Christmas is merely a commercial enterprise. Point taken even though 1) that is a personal choice and 2) if Christmas helps our world economy then, you are welcome.
But what is “The Atheist's Guide to Christmas”? It is about Christmas as an exclusively commercial enterprise finally deprived of any of its original Christ related intent—first besmirch Christ and then rake up your Christmas presents.

While studies consistently show that atheists are the least charitable amongst us or rare occasion they experience what Richard Dawkins would refer to as “misfirings, Darwinian mistakes: blessed, precious mistakes.”[1] This refers to altruistic acts such as the auctioning of a signed poster with proceeds going to a UK HIV charity.
Richard Dawkins, Derren Brown, Simon Le Bon, Ben Goldacre, Charlie Brooker, Simon Singh and other contributors to “The Atheist's Guide to Christmas” signed an original atheist bus campaign poster, the one reading, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

While I certainly say “Mazel tov!” it is rather odd that even whilst being charitable they cannot go without expressing prejudice. Why not sign a poster stating, “We are atheists, here is some money,” or some such words? Perhaps George Costanza’s “The Human Fund: Money for People”?


Why resort to belligerence even whilst being charitable? Well, because atheism, particularly at the popular level of instant celebrity via expressing prejudice, is necessarily premised upon negative assertions—it is atheism as anti-theism.

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists” and no donations to the HIV charity. “Where would Dawkins be without Jesus's extraordinary impact on the Western world?” he may have to reach into his own pocket in order to be charitable instead of signing a belligerent and fallacious statement and letting other be charitable by purchasing his signature—a cult of personality indeed.

Richard Dawkins: the "cultural Christian"



[1] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006), p. 221


Continue reading Ariane Sherine, The Atheist's Guide to Christmas and a Double Whammy Besmirchment of and Compliment to Christianity...

Dan Barker and the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Billboards

The closer we get to December, the more perturbed some atheists get as celebrations of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Ramadan, and miscellaneous are afoot.

Being absolute anthropocentrists, many atheists take offence as they consider it a personal affront that those people are enjoying their holydays. In their minds; every public display of religiosity is aimed at them, every “God bless you” after they sneeze is shoving theology down their throats. And, of course, considering their latest propaganda campaign, it is not merely public displays but you, in your home, behind closed doors, out of public view, teaching your children your faith that is the latest target.

As per usual, during a time of the year when people are generally more inclined towards charity—peace on earth and good will towards non-gender specific personages—atheists are busily collecting hundreds upon hundreds of thousands worth of currency during a time of recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to purchase bill boards and bus ads whereby they seek to demonstrate, to themselves, just how clever they are.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an organization established in the USA which is a country premised upon the concept of freedom of religious expression; as George Washington put it in his Thanksgiving Proclamation from “the year of our Lord 1789”:
…acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will…Almighty God…that great and glorious Being…for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…the great Lord and Ruler of Nations…bless them [all nations] with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us…—and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best…

Atheist activist organizations, such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, are certainly well within their rights and are to be encouraged since nothing discredits atheism like simply letting atheists speak as loudly and often as they wish.

Let us succinctly consider some of their billboard messages:
“Imagine No Religion”
This is quoted from the John Lennon song, “Imagine” which is an atheist anthem that calls for conversion to atheism as it states, “I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.”
Activist atheism is not simply about living non-God related lives but about seeking converts.
Lastly, we do not have to “imagine no religion” but merely have to consider the history of the last century; the most secular and bloodies century in human history.
Yet, if no one can condemn “religion” as does God and the Bible: find the evidence here.

“Praise Darwin”
Here we see another atheist tendency; the doing away with a supernatural God and replacing Him with natural gods. “Praise God” is replaced by “Praise Darwin” as the FFRF somehow infers that God does not exist based on biology. See the essay iTheism.
Dan Barker, has stated, “Darwin has bequeathed what is good” and apparently, what is good is that “abortion is a blessing” and concluding that Jesus was “a moral monster.”

“State/Church: Keep Them Separate” / “Keep Religion Out of Government”
This demonstrates an activist atheist tendency towards confusing the US Constitution’s “Establishment Clause” against a state religion which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishing of religion” with Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists in which he references “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
Jefferson, deist or not, attended Christian church services in the Capitol Building. Ironically, the FFRF would have called for his impeachment for doing so.
Apparently, the FFRF understand Jefferson better than Jefferson understood Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence states that we have inalienable rights that have been given to us by “our Creator…nature’s God.”
Dan Barker stated, “There are no gods…There is only our natural world,” thus his ultimate goal is to remove “religious” influence in government and replace it with atheistic influence.

“Reasons Greetings”
Another anti-Christian quip replacing “Season’s Greetings.” The FFRF came very close to quoting the Bible which states, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18).
Dan Barker has stated, “we also champion reason as its [faith’s] replacement, as the only viable tool of knowledge.” Yet, ask him to justify his reliance upon reason from reason and he will reason to reason which is circular logic (actually, we cannot reason to reason as no epistemic system is ultimately self-validating).
He also misunderstands faith which is not, as the atheist talking point defines it, belief without evidence but trust; that upon which we rely once we have followed reason, evidence, etc. as far as it will go; the very same upon which he relies in order to positively affirm that “There are no gods.”

We can only hope that the FFRF and others will continue their propagandizing as it give occasion to pull the mask of erudition away from the zealous atheist preacher.

Here are some of my ideas for FFRF billboards:





Continue reading Dan Barker and the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Billboards...